Wednesday, 29 May

Only $22.07m of $58.14m illegally drawn taxpayer funds sunk into 'Akufo-Addo Cathedral' – Ablakwa says request for $100m to buy steel 'outrageous'

General News
Opposition MP Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa

Anti-National Cathedral crusader Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa has desceibed as "outrageous" the Secretariat's request for US$100 million to import steel to continue the construction of the edifice.

According to him, previous public funds unconstitutionally released for the project have not been accounted for, thus, he wonders what would become of the latest request.

In an exposè, the opposition MP said, "Ghanaians will be shocked to discover this morning that out of the US$58.14 million of public funds unconstitutionally withdrawn without parliamentary approval for Akufo-Addo’s cathedral project, only a fraction of US$22.07 million went to the contractors, RIBADE JV for actual construction."

"This really means that out of the US$58.14 million of taxpayer funds wrongfully released for Akufo-Addo’s cathedral, more than US$36 million was expended on other items other than their core function of construction," he alleged. 

He added: "Instead of the outrageous demand for US$100million to import steel, the Board of Trustees should be explaining to Ghanaians why only a measly 37.9% of taxpayer funds went into actual construction much against industry best practice; they should be rendering full account of how all the categories of funds raised locally and internationally have been used; and how they still managed to create the world’s most expensive pit." 

Read Mr Ablakwa's full write-up below:

Ghanaians are not angry enough. 

It is absolutely incredible that with the avalanche of scandals which cannot even fit into the world’s most expensive pit as infamously created in central Accra by the controversial cathedralists — they now have the sheer audacity to be demanding US$100million to import steel.

In any case, per their own sordid track record, there is no guarantee that if they are ever given US$100million, all that money will be used for its advertised purpose.

Ghanaians will be shocked to discover this morning that out of the US$58.14million of public funds unconstitutionally withdrawn without parliamentary approval for Akufo-Addo’s cathedral project, only a fraction of US$22.07million went to the contractors, RIBADE JV for actual construction.

According to documents submitted to Parliament when we demanded a detailed breakdown of how the US$58.14million (GHS339,003,064.86) was spent, the contractors provided comprehensive analysis of how they utilized the US$22.07million received between January 2021 and February 2022 when they had to suspend work for “lack of funds” even though far more money had been released from government coffers, albeit on the blindside of Parliament. (See copies attached).

This really means that out of the US$58.14 million of taxpayer funds wrongfully released for Akufo-Addo’s cathedral, more than US$36 million was expended on other items other than their core function of construction. 

We now know that only a paltry 37.9% of total public funds released was handed over to the contractors. 

I must add, however, that many experts agree that the contractors equally have serious questions to answer as what they have delivered with US$22.07million is extremely suspicious. 

One needs to consider that the US$58.1million in issue, represents only taxpayer funds. Other categories such as donations from churches, corporate institutions, SOEs, His Eminence the Chief Imam, many other individuals and their opaque fundraising operations in the USA have all not been added.

Note that owners of the multiple structures demolished are still waiting to be compensated. Others are in court demanding justifiable compensation. 

It is also imperative to state that contrary to the mendacious claims by Executive Director, Dr. Paul Opoku Mensah on Okay FM that: “two floors have already been constructed underground,”the contractors, RIBADE JV, report to Parliament that they have only carried out excavations. 

I must add that our field visits to the site do not show completed underground floors; all we have seen is a “massive pit in the centre of the city” as the venerable Bishop Dag Heward-Mills put it in his famous resignation letter.

Obviously, transparency and truth have never been in such short supply. 

Instead of the outrageous demand for US$100million to import steel, the Board of Trustees should be explaining to Ghanaians why only a measly 37.9% of taxpayer funds went into actual construction much against industry best practice; they should be rendering full account of how all the categories of funds raised locally and internationally have been used; and how they still managed to create the world’s most expensive pit. 

For God and Country.

Ghana First

Source: classfmonline.com